South Korea beats UAE 2-0 in World Cup qualifier
World Cup regular South Korea was closer to booking a spot in
Asia’s fourth and final round of qualifiers for Brazil 2014 with a
hard-fought 2-0 win over United Arab Emirates on Friday.
Lee Keun-ho and captain Park Chu-young scored late second-half
goals to keep the unbeaten Koreans on top of Group B after four
South Korea beat UAE 2-1 at home a month ago, but didn’t expect
as hard a match as it got on Friday.
The visitors didn’t break the deadlock until four minutes were
left, when Lee sidefooted into an open net. Then Park slid into the
goalmouth to bundle the ball across the line in the second minute
of injury time.
Coach Rae Chong-kwang saluted his men for taking full points
against a determined UAE.
”It was unexpectedly difficult, but our players showed their
will and motivation,” Rae said.
”I will keep the team intact until the end of our stay in the
Middle East (when they face Lebanon on Tuesday).
”In the first half we focused on stabilizing our defense and
midfield, and that’s why we didn’t venture deeper into their half,
but in the second half we changed our tactics and it worked
UAE came up with the first chance of the match but captain
Subait Khater was a tad late in pulling the trigger from the edge
of the area in the 7th minute.
Park missed a great opportunity on 19 minutes after a
counterattack allowed him to go clear with just UAE goalkeeper
Majed Naser to beat. Park, though, hesitated and Basheer Saeed
raced back to regain possession for the hosts.
Soon after, Saeed was shot straight at South Korea goalkeeper
Jung Sung-ryong from a 25-meter free kick, and Mohammed Ahmed
missed for the home side after a free kick left him open to shoot
in the 35th.
UAE midfielder Ali Abbas nearly scored an own goal when his
glancing header threatened to go in before it was cleared by Fares
Juma with five minutes to play in the first half.
South Korea returned stronger after the break and won an early
free kick that was fired wide by Hong Chul, but at the other end
Ismail Al Hammadi swivelled and half-volleyed high from close range
Mohammed Ahmed pushed over Park in the box from behind, but the
referee ignored pleas from South Korea for a penalty. The Koreans
eventually came through at the very end.